A plan is only as good as its execution. And to keep up with execution of your OGSM, it’s important to conduct timely and engaging review sessions to stay on track. But with a full schedule of meetings already in the calendar, how do you make the most of your OGSM review?
When conducting a monthly OGSM review, invite your senior team to a 60-min meeting in which to review the OGSM from bottom to top. Review your Measures’ key initiatives and metrics first and then move up to the Strategies. Discuss countermeasures for those initiatives ‘at risk’ or which ‘need attention’. Take down all agreed actions for follow up.
This monthly review is however not only a meeting. It requires some preparation up front and diligent follow up thereafter. Here’s how you get the most out of your monthly OGSM review.
Monthly OGSM Reviews
When using the OGSM methodology for your annual operating plans, it is important to conduct monthly reviews to keep on track with execution.
The reason I propose a monthly review cadence (instead of quarterly for example) is to have the ability to act and respond timely to implementation progress (or lack thereof) in your senior team. This allows you to make timely decisions to double-down on what is working and pivot on what is not. Doing this only once a quarter may put the plan at risk as countermeasures may not result in desired outcomes in time.
In order not to miss a session, I like scheduling out all monthly reviews ahead of time. Go ahead at the beginning of the year and send out recurring invitations for 12 sessions. That way they are in the calendar ahead of time and do not get in the way of day-to-day scheduling difficulties.
Having all 12 sessions scheduled out also allows you and your team to plan ahead and prepare. A well-prepared OGSM review is significantly more effective than if people need to rush an update on short notice. If the OGSM review is every second Tuesday of the month for example, there are no surprises when the next one comes around.
Speaking of preparation, in my experience it really helps to have an OGSM caretaker who keeps the document current and helps prepare for the reviews. This caretaker updates the financials and key figures ahead of the review meeting and reminds strategy and initiative owners to provide their updates directly on the OGSM document (see image below).
Go into the meeting with an updated and current OGSM document.
An important word about status colors
On the OGSM document, record the status of each initiative and a brief update comment incl. proposed countermeasures (as necessary). For status, I typically use the following color-coded setting which has served me well:
|Light Green (LG)||On Track||Item is in progress and on track to achieving it’s targets.|
|Dark Green (DG)||Completed||Item is done and targets are met.|
|Yellow (Y)||Needs Attention||Item needs attention by the organization or its senior team in order to stay on track and not fall behind.|
|Red (R)||At Risk||Item is at risk of missing its targets and needs urgent attention and action.|
|Blue (B)||On Hold||Item has been placed on hold, postponed or deprioritized.|
Regarding the color-coding, I always emphasize that these status settings are meant to be forward-looking and action-oriented and not punitive. A red color is not bad by itself. It does not mean that someone is getting fired. Encourage your team to use ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ statuses to signal that urgent action is needed.
We have become so accustomed that ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ on business reports are bad. What a bunch of baloney. Take active steps to take your team’s fear from using ‘yellow’ and ‘red’. Emphasize that these are signal colors to direct attention to where it is most needed. Nobody gains from beautifying or hiding the true status of an initiative just because we are trained to prefer to see ‘green’.
Good! Now that we got that straight, let’s dive into the OGSM review itself.
Rundown of the OGSM review meeting
A monthly review is not an in-depth strategy review but a monthly check-in to make sure your plan is on track. I have found a duration of 60 minutes most effective. One hour is long enough to review the performance indicators, identify key issues and decide on countermeasures. It is also short enough to make it a monthly staple without taking too much time out of operations. A concise 60-minute session keeps the group engaged and the OGSM on track.
During the monthly OGSM review, follow a structured agenda that guides the team through the review process.
Start with a review of the financials and key performance indicators. Identify where you are on track and where you are lagging behind expectations. Discuss in the team what the drivers of performance are and identify the reasons for missing the mark.
Then review the individual Measures starting with those which are behind expectations. Follow the colors. Begin with the ‘red’ initiatives, followed by ‘yellow’.
Initiatives marked ‘red’ are at risk and need urgent attention and action. Identify why you are behind. Discuss in the team effective countermeasures that you can take to adjust the course and get back on track. Agree on the actions to be taken by whom and by when and record the actions on an action item list. Then move on to the next item.
Let me pause here for a moment. That was brief but important! The whole purpose of doing the OGSM review is to identify where you are behind, why you are behind and to correct the course. So be candid and thorough here. The purpose is not to assign blame or search for fault. You are looking to identify where improvement is needed and then go do it.
Reasons why a measure is behind might be numerous: the external environment has changed, customer needs have changed, competitors are more effective, the action is not well-resourced, the team does not have the knowledge or skills needed to succeed, other unforeseen hurdles or challenges are preventing the team from making progress.
As with the color-coding above, when you are in session, create an atmosphere that invites the team to be candid and direct. You want everyone to be as straight as an arrow.
After all ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ items are discussed, review the ‘green’ initiatives which are on track. Check whether any major milestones are coming up or decisions are needed. Only discuss those ‘green’ initiatives worth discussing.
With 10 minutes left in the meeting, wrap up the initiative review and confirm all the countermeasures and actions agreed on in the meeting. Double-check that each action has a caretaker, a timeline, and that everyone is clear about the expected deliverables. Take note of all actions on the action item list.
At the 60-minute mark, thank everyone for their contributions and their constructive review before closing the meeting.
After the OGSM review session has ended, send a short note to all participants and OGSM stakeholders. Confirm the OGSM as it was discussed and share the action item list for everyone’s information and action. Now the focus shifts back to operations, executing your OGSM and implementing the agreed corrective actions.
Until the next monthly review.
What does the agenda of a monthly review meeting look like?
For easy reference, this is what the agenda of a monthly OGSM review meeting might look like. Feel free to copy this out and into the invitation of your monthly OGSM review meeting.
|10 min||Review Financials & key Performance Indicators||Business Leader or OGSM Caretaker/facilitator|
|10 min||Review actions from previous OGSM review||OGSM caretaker/facilitator|
|20 min||Review initiatives ‘at risk’ and ‘need attention’ and discuss countermeasures||Initiative owner|
|10 min||Review ‘on track’ initiatives||Initiative owner|
|10 min||Confirm actions from this OGSM review||Business Leader or OGSM Caretaker/facilitator|
When to schedule a monthly review?
There is no hard or fast rule when to schedule a monthly review. I have found it most useful to schedule the meeting in the second week of the month. By the second week, you may have had a chance to review the financials from the previous month and update the OGSM document.
Getting the OGSM review done in the second week of the month then leaves the rest of the month to focus on operations and drive execution.
Consider picking a fixed day for your regular reviews, for example every second Tuesday of the month. Then your team can build a regular rhythm about the review and there is no surprise when it comes around.
Schedule out all 12 monthly sessions at the beginning of the year. Most calendar software such as Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar allow you to set recurring invitations identifying the chosen day of the month. That makes scheduling the meetings easy and straightforward. Include the agenda in the invitation so everyone knows what to expect ahead of time.
What is the difference between a monthly and a quarterly OGSM review?
I like to make a clear distinction between frequent monthly OGSM reviews and more thorough quarterly OGSM reviews.
As described above, the purpose of the monthly OGSM review is to track the execution of the measures and to agree on corrective actions for those initiatives which are ‘at risk’ or ‘need attention’. The discussion is brief, candid and solution-oriented. The monthly OGSM review only takes about 60 minutes.
The purpose of the quarterly OGSM review is a more in-depth review of the OGSM to confirm whether the business is on track to achieving its overall objective and goals.
For the quarterly OGSM review, I schedule a 2-3 hour session (based on progress) which reviews each initiative and strategy. Each initiative owner provides an update on progress, milestones, challenges, and next steps.
The review includes an assessment of each strategy to confirm that the path chosen is still the right one to move the business towards its overall objectives.
If required, countermeasures are discussed and agreed on. As during the monthly review, all actions are recorded with caretakers and timelines.
How to create an OGSM for your business?
We have now been speaking about implementing your OGSM and keeping on track with your execution via monthly review meetings. But how do you actually create an OGSM in the first place?
Check out Rock Your Strategy’s resources about OGSM and how to create effective strategic plans that deliver results. You can read a general introduction about OGSM here. The article includes links to deep dives into each element of the OGSM: objectives, goals, strategies, and measures.
The purpose of the monthly OGSM review is to ensure that the implementation of your plan is on track. The review starts with preparation already before the actual meeting.
Prepare all key figures and status updates prior to the OGSM review meeting to facilitate an effective session.
During the meeting, address those initiatives first that are “at risk” or “need attention”. Identify root causes and agree on countermeasures.
Record all action items, caretakers, and due dates and ensure diligent follow up after the meeting.
What experiences have you made with your OGSM review? If you liked this article or have any questions or comments, why not leave us a reply below? We’d love to hear from you.